Interview : Derek Nulty
Glen came home and joined the Saints in 2013/14, helping the club to win three promotions, a league title which ensured the club will play in the top flight of LSL Football. Glen scored in the final of the 2014 Moore Cup which brought some silverware to the club, and he helped the club qualify for the 2014 and 2015 FAI Cup.
Your earliest football memory ?
My mam putting me in mini leagues down at the back of the Breffni pub, or my older brother Graham giving me gentle encouragement to go out and play football. He's two years older than me and I'd stand in the goals, and get the ball whacked at me. I only really started playing at 7 when I came up to St. Mochta's.
What memories do you have of schoolboy football ?
We had a very good team here, it would be ourselves Glebe North and Portmarnock who would have been the three best teams in the NDSL at the time. We had cup finals every year and challenging for trophies every year. We won a few trophies and were successful and I really enjoyed it. Stella Maris were chasing me for a few years, my mates were playing for them, so I joined. I needed to test myself in the top league of the DDSL.
Can you tell me about your move to Wolves ?
I was 17 and I went over late on a one year YTS, I had three trials and was only offered a one year YTS as I was 17. Normally you would get a two year when you are 16.
Was it tough settling at 16 years old ?
Initially it was, going on trials is grand as it's only for four days a week. Luckily enough lads from Scotland and London were also away from home with the club. The first few weeks of pre season was a trip away which helped me settle and get to know the lads. We all lived close to each other in digs, so we all spent our free time together which was great.
Did you have do all the apprentice jobs ?
We did, it's all changed now, players now do a lot more schooling. We did everything, clean boots, dressing rooms, clean the Managers office, Physio room. It was something I really enjoyed, you could have a laugh and a joke with the other players, and it helped get a bond together with the team.
How quick was your progress to making your Wolves debut ?
I played in the youth team all the way through my first year. I was involved in a few Under 21 games towards the end of the season I played about 10 reserve games, and then last game of the season I made my debut.
Can you tell us about your Wolves debut and first goal ?
My debut was away against Reading in Elm Park, I came on with half an hour remaining. My first start was away to Charlton and my first goal. We had stayed overnight and Mark McGee told me that morning on a team walk that I was starting, I didn't have time to get nervous, so it was the best way it could have happened. The goal was a half volley into the roof of the net. I remember Steve Bull was shouting looking for me to square the ball to him. Luckily enough it went in, and it was a great feeling.
You are a fantastic role model for our younger players, you never missed training, did you look up to any senior pros at Wolves ?
Yeah, We were one of the top teams in Division 1 which is now the Championship. Lads like Steve Bull, Steve Claridge, Don Goodman, and they were the centre forwards. Steve Bull was at the club 10 years when I arrived and was an absolute professional in everything he did. He was a brilliant trainer, he was a club legend and a quiet man. He wasn't loud or brash, but he was a leader and had played for England. He had no ego and was only happy to help.
A lot of Irish players including Robbie Keane and Dominic Foley joined the following year. Did Robbie stand out as a possible future star ?
When he first arrived you could see his skill, he was about 15 in the youth team with lads a few years older than him. They were bigger and stronger physically, but with a ball at his feet he would be like Messi; as in smaller than everyone else, but impossible to get the ball off. He always knew where the ball was and where the player was. It didn't surprise me, but If you asked me at the time, I'd probably say no, because of his size. After a year or two when he developed physically you could see it. He went from a skinny lad from Tallaght to being a physical centre forward. He had no fear and went on to score twice on his debut away to Norwich and you could see the sky was the limit for him.
Can you share some of your experiences of the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1997 ?
It was an incredible experience and to finish third with the quality of opposition was a brilliant achievement. The tournament was in Malaysia and we went to Limerick University to acclimatise for a week before we left. We trained with rain coats on, although it's very difficult to prepare for playing in such heat and conditions. We had Damien Duff, Neale Fenn, Colin Hawkins, Trevor Molloy, Dessie Baker , we had a strong squad. To qualify for the tournament, you had to be in the top six from the previous Under 18 European Championships. England had Lampard, Carragher, Owen, Danny Murphy. France had Trezeguet, Anelka, Silverste, Gallas, Italy and Spain were also in the competition and had top players. Argentina beat us in the Semi final 1-0, they beat Uruguay in the final. Argentina were a quality side with Riquelme, Ayala and Cambiasso. Cambiasso was aged 15 and everyone else in the tournament was 19 or 20. We all absolutely loved the month, Noel O' Reilly was brilliant with his guitar and sing songs and the whole squad bonded. Brian Kerr and Noel O' Reilly did a phenomenal job at under age level with Ireland.
Did you enjoy your time at Wolves ?
Absolutely loved it. I was with Wolves for 4 years and loved every minute. Getting to play professional football at a professional club is what you dream about as a kid. The club have a huge history and everything was done right. The players didn't have to think about anything, we would turn up for training and the focus was all on preparing for the next game and getting your head right. I enjoyed me visits home to see my family and mates.
You went to Plymouth and played in the Jimmy Glass game. The goalkeeper scored in injury time to save Carlisle from relegation and dropping out of the football league. What are your memories of that famous game ?
We played Scunthorpe mid week and lost 3 -0. We had a very long journey to Carlise for the final game. We were mid table and went 1-0 up, you could feel the tension in the stadium which was packed. They equalised with about 20 minutes remaining. It's injury time and they get a corner, Jimmy Glass arrives in the penalty area. The ball went over my head and a header is parried by our keeper and Jimmy smashed it into the net. All the fans ran of the pitch, we got a few friendly slaps on the back. It meant so much to them and very tough on Scarborough who went down.
What was your time with Plymouth like ?
I enjoyed it and we had a great bunch of lads, but I never really felt at home as I did with Wolves. I didn't play as often as I felt I should have. Every player will think they should be playing.
Was it a tough decision to move back home ?
Not really, My old youth team manager at Wolves Rob Kelly was a great coach, he's from Birmingham and has Ireland Under 21 caps. I stayed in contact with him when I was at Plymouth. He's related to Roddy, I didn't know Roddy at the time, obviously I'd have known of Steve. He put me in contact with Roddy. I met Roddy at Total Fitness, he said this is where we do our weights. He brought me to Dalymount. The Jodi stand was being built and he explained his plans, I signed a one year contract although I was offered a longer contract, I wanted to see how it went in the first year.
What was Roddy like as a manager ?
Brilliant. Not everyone see's it that way because he's very opinionated. If your in his team and playing regularly and doing your job he's the best manager around. There are few that can compare to him. I have only seen one side of him, that's being good to me. He's looked after me and I'd like to think I've looked after him when he was my manager as well.
The double was won in 2000/1 and you scored 35 goals in all competitions. What are you memories of that season ?
The season before we qualified for Europe due to Shels beating us in the cup final. We played Aberdeen. We were 1-0 down and Shauny Maher and Trevor Molloy scored and we won 2-1. I remember we had a great night in Aberdeen that night. We lost 1-0 in the second leg, but went through on away goals. It started off a brilliant season for us and got us a great tie against Kaiserslautern. They were the better side over two - legs, but beating them away gave us more confidence. Our expectations at the start of the season would be to do well in Europe and hang in with Shels who had won the league the previous season. Our expectations then changed and we had much more confidence.
The famous game in Santry. 4-1 down to fierce rivals Shamrock Rovers at Half time. Bohs come back and Win 6-4. Describe that game ?
A lot of the fans were disgruntled and stunned. We went out in the second half and scored our second goal after they missed a chance. We kept going at them and we created chances and started scoring. It finished 6-4, and it could have been more. In saying that, it could have been 6-1 before we scored our second. At the time you are just so involved with the game and focused, you don't have the time to process what's happening. I hadn't scored in a few games and got two in that game, so I was delighted to be back scoring goals and I was delighted for our fans.
What did Roddy say at half time ?
He was calm and had us believing, we had nothing to lose at that stage. Sometimes you would expect a manager to lose the head. I suppose they know they will get more out of you if they remain calm. Losing the head can sometimes just gets the players backs up.
What was the dressing room like at full time ?
We had a good celebration. To get beaten by a big score by Rovers would put a big dent in you and the club. So we knew from 4-1 down it was a massive result for the club and our fans and it gave us momentum for the rest of the season.
You scored 11 European goals. What's your best European memory ?
The one that stands out would be beaten Kaiserslauten away 1-0 and I scored the goal. It was a tap in, Dave Williamson on the right put in a great cross. The tap ins can be the ones that your heart is in your mouth for, I have seen the ball hit the roof of the net when it should have rolled over the line. We had some great performances and goals but getting a win away in Germany was unheard of at the time. A result like that now in Germany would be more difficult with top clubs like Bayern Munich and Borrusia Dortmund.